Child-care centres come under fire

Cape Town - Ten crèches in the Western Cape have been shut down in the past two years, pointing to growing concerns over complaints involving the care of children in local facilities.

Melany Kuhn, spokeswoman for Social Development MEC Albert Fritz, said she could not supply specific information about the closures, but she stressed that local Early Childhood Development Centres were required to conform with a number of norms and standards.

Complaints vary from compliance to municipal requirements, and norms and standards as per the Children’s Act.

“The issues range from the food, to the number of qualifications of teachers, management, etc. Each complaint is dealt with individually on its own merits.”

Kuhn added that they had not received any complaints similar to the one about the child which was found bound and gagged at a crèche in Joburg last week.

Newspaper reports over the past five years highlight some of the high-profile cases across the country:

The crèche was taken over by Krige’s daughter after his wife died, but was closed by the department after the allegations.

Seven-month-old Mpendulo Ndlovu was found dead after the children were put down for a nap. A case was opened at the Johannesburg police station and police investigated.

Kuhn said that in cases where child abuse was reported, thorough investigations were done.

“There has on occasion been a case of alleged child abuse, and in such cases thorough investigations were done and facilities were closed where necessary.

“Parents were then assisted to find alternative care for their children,” she said.